If You Acquire a Competitor’s Website, Options: Redirects, Demolition, or Leave It Ranking on the SERPs


What do I do if I acquire a competitors website?

One of our competitors are shutting down and we are going to offer to buy their domain. However, if we acquire I'm not sure what to do outside of a full redirect.
Any ideas what the value of that site is and what I should do if I get it?
Edit: We are both brick and mortar locations. I just wanted to clarify because a lot of the advice I have gotten so far seems to center around blogs and content driven sites which this site I would be acquiring is not. Most of their links just point to their location specific pages. I was hoping to redirect them to mine.
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yeah, if they have decent backlinks, traffic etc, just redirect it your site, but make sure you pay attention to any spam links etc they may have. Otherwise, depending on the space, you may run it parallel to your current site. What industry?

daherdevil ✍️
Escape rooms! So it's not content based our pure ecomm so it would be very hard to run simultaneously

Oh man, this is a fascinating situation! I would try and work that into a deal where you maintain their presence, see if you can acquire their client-base and Client Relationship Management (CRM) database (if relevant, it may cost you a bit more, but guaranteed hot leads is always a good thing), and for a set period – I'd say no shorter than 3 months and no longer than a year – build a 'transition' webpage, and slowly build out your 301s to relevant/mirror content on your site. You want to give existing and potential customers time to get used to the fact that you're the 'new kid on the block' and the old company is closed – otherwise they may think they either got "hacked" or just closed shop and will bounce and write them off completely.
Before you do buy, ask for access to view their analytics and search console data, and do your own research with tools like Ahrefs , SEMrush, moz, screaming frog, etc.
There are SEO concerns to acquiring a domain, and you can turn this into a massive business opportunity, but you and your team should be focusing on the business, marketing, and strategy implications of this, and how to handle the many eventualities.
Happy to talk specifics and share some resources via Direct Message (DM) if you want to talk shop!

daherdevil ✍️
Great ideas! I would love to get ahold of their Client Relationship Management (CRM) and get access to their analytics to determine a price point. They already announced their closures however, they have some great links so I'm thinking it may be worth it to buy the site just to get the redirect juice.

At the very least you should ensure you're bundling their Google Analytics (GA) and SC accounts with the property. At most, see if you can just buy their existing site, hosting, basically their entire digital presence (as it's likely not going anywhere else). This opens up TONS of options.
As for their links, you'll need to either maintain, or maintain and redirect. If they're high-value links, DON'T JUST REDIRECT! If you take a link that has solid juice and redirect it to just a landing or homepage that's not relevant, that's going to hurt rather than give you the ranking juice you're looking for. SEO gets messy, there's no way around that.
For buying, definitely say a sale is contingent on seeing at LEAST their analytics and traffic numbers, and corroborate that with independent results from SEMrush and Ahrefs . Get them to share their socials too. You don't buy a house without having an inspector give it a once-over just because it's in a good location. Extend that mindset to digital properties too.
daherdevil ✍️
What should I do outside of redirecting the high value links??
Absolutely DON'T redirect high value links!! Keep them as is, assemble a list of the backlinks, and see if you can take that content and IMPROVE and EXPAND on it. 301 to start, but once you have something in your pipeline that you can publish and push, approach the backlinking property and say 'hey, we own this domain, and this content, but we have a better piece of content that would better server your users – can you link to that instead'. This way you're building a relationship for future links, and you're also able to transition links to be direct to your primary domain. Ideally you'll be able to do this with everything, but for the high value stuff – definitely take the time to rewrite it, enhance it, and then pitch it to replace that link from the old site. 301 the less valuable stuff, but right now, content is king.
Also, don't forget to optimize content for 0-click Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) (the importance of this might be changing, however, as in of-this-week)
daherdevil ✍️
Yeah position zero has been super fascinating to watch! I understand what you're saying as it compares to content driven sites but if the high value just goes to their homepage because they are a brick and mortar then is their harm in redirecting it to our business when we occupy the same niche?
This is where I'd love to A/B test in alternate realities ha. You don't know until you know. I hate p-chem, but damnit if I haven't seen a better situation to apply Schrödinger to. (yeah, trailing preposition, copywriters come at me).
So, with regard to them having their HV links go to their homepage, that's a very unique situation. How long do you have here? Would they let you install your own tools to vet engagement and behavior beforehand? Sorry for so many questions, it's a really interesting situation!
On that note, would it be okay to share some high level details with some colleagues and DM you?

I'm not sure where you're based and I don't want to rain on the parade or any of these great ideas, but if you're in Europe you may have to take into account GDPR if you're looking into Client Relationship Management (CRM) and mailing lists/subscribers etc

I'm a huge advocate for privacy – I'm US based but I still steer everyone towards complying with GDPR. Definitely a good talking point. I actually don't know how it would apply to acquiring a customer list, but it's absolutely something to keep in mind. No rain on the parade here, I take it as a fact of life these days, but maybe you're right and I should start ending replies with 'oh, and don't forget about GDPR' (that sounds super sarcastic, it's not – everyone's implementation is different though)
and you don't even need to be based in Europe for it to apply, although there are some nuances (no need for record keeping if your business is less than 250 people, etc). I'd say someone should do an ELI5 for GDPR, but to be honest, their site does a damn good job of that already.
Glad to know you actually care about the data privacy!
There's no hard and fast limit on how you handle Personally Identifiable Data, if you handle records on someone from your Europe you're liable anyway.
PID is anything from names, addresses, phone numbers email addresses etc.
Ideally they are stored digitally and any info you must keep is encrypted so if there is a breach an individual can't be identified.
Then there's the checkbox issue so people know their data is being stored and what it is being stored for, and finally in a privacy policy you need to say if any third parties would handle that data at any point.
Remember, everyone is as responsible as each other when it comes to data!

Depends, if it is their business name… if not, and it is a good set of keywords just build it out with your products. Like if the business was Bills Windows then redirect. But if it is like West Coast windows then build it out.

daherdevil ✍️
The domain name is pretty specific.

Then put up a landing page just for people coming from there. Don't put any other links to it. Have it be your site but a banner welcoming them from so and sos website but they have gone out of business and you are not the owner of the domain and that you hope to serve them just as good as xyz did if not better. To give you are try offer like a 10% off coupon only on that page.

301 Redirect is the best option, especially if your competitor has backlinks.
Don't redirect to homepage but make full 1:1 map and you can even transfer some content along.

daherdevil ✍️
Exactly what I'm leaning towards. They have a few locations and they all overlap locations we also have so that would be huge for those city pages of ours to grab those links.
Your devs should do 301 redirects for "keep" pages that You're not "retiring". I've done this for a third party ecom website I acquired for a global retailer.
I also agree with other posters around retiring some pages, keeping/repurposing content pages, creating vanity URLs where new pages should be created, redirecting phone/email, backlinking.
Using affiliate marketing on your site is a good way to generate revenue while doing nothing. Just make sure it doesn't interfere with your UxD/IA or take customers away from the site at a key conversion event.
Obtaining customer data records from the competitor would be very valuable as they haven't been to your escape room (warm leads to eCLM).
Legally, if you keep another business open you need to consider costs and whether you're allowed to trade using their name(?). Also, your competitors Google My Business address and Social properties (Gram/FB, YT/Google, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, etc, etc) will be reset to "permanently closed" – this is messy for the Cx and confusing which may backfire if you keep a website open only. Avoid destroying your online "trust equity" as customers are savage if you do.

I actually did this recently, a competitor was closing down and we bought the domain from them (out from under a bunch of much bigger players b/c we were willing to move very quickly to make it happen).
What I did:
• Did a full site audit splitting things into a keep or retire bucket.
• The kept items were mainly their blog articles on industry topics. These were folded into our blog structure.
• The retired pages were around their product, support, etc. These were redirected to a page where we explained the acquisition, etc.
• I registered the acquired site in Google webmaster tools and did their "Change of Address" process.
Like anything, it's all about what you pay and what you get. In our case we bought the existing (very technical and hard to hire out to copywriters) articles as well and then took the steps to preserver the backlinks to them (which boosted our overall SEO).
You can easily run a backlink profile on the site and count the number of pages you might be able to migrate. Multiply that by what it would take to recreate that on your own and that will at least give you a baseline.
That being said, we really lucked out as I'd had a bit of a friendly relationship with the founder of the acquired company on Twitter this isn't something that I think can be easily replicated on a regular basis.
I would definitely recommend a full website audit. I once had to repair someone's website who redirected without doing this. There were a couple of different domains that were redirected. This was an SEO disaster! We ended up just taking a few of the spammy domains and letting them expire into oblivion.
I've seen where 301s work about 75% of the time if you redirect a strong one. Redirecting usually results in a surge of traffic and then usually dies down. I like the idea of all taking all the different content pages and integrating them into your existing website structure.
For one domain where we did this, we put a little banner up that went to a page that explained the buyout and why it was happening. This resulted in some better traffic over to our site and then we finished the redirect a few months later like you are proposing.
First off don't redirect… Fold his products into your products. It's worth more to have two different differing brand identities .. capitalize on that

daherdevil ✍️
Alright so here's what interesting. We both are brick and mortar. We do escape rooms so you buy online but have to go to the physical address. Kind of difficult, in my mind, to fold those together. Does that change your opinion at all?

how close are you to your competitor? Your slowly feeding us important data… I mean are you 5, 000 miles away maybe its best to just redirect… 3 miles away rebrand your competitor to your product … ask yourself is it reasonable to point these people to my store and me make money off off this website … if no redirect the link juice.. $ is better than link juice

I definitely wouldn't redirect if it could generate decent income. Nothing wrong with having two highly ranked sites in your niche.
You'd value the site based on how much it's making. You basically take the annual profit of the site (or business) and multiply it by a number that's fairly standard for the industry. Obviously you'll want the lowest multiple and they will want the highest. So, a negotiation has to occur.
You can come up with a bunch of different outcomes if there is enough money at stake.
We do a lot of this with our clients. Ultimately since you are a brick and mortar you should think about consolidating your costs. Running two independent websites shouldn't have a significant cost implication.
If your business is similar you can use a similar theme so your web team is able to update the sites easily. For content, it should be unique to separate businesses otherwise you'll get dinged from an SEO perspective.
If the business is similar and you intend on combining the two you can move the site to a sub-page of your site. If they have significantly more traffic/domain authority you may want to do the reverse.
Here are some questions to consider.
• Will the brands remain independent or do you plan on merging.
• Who has a stronger organic search, social?
• Will there be the same or different back end calls to action.
Congratulations on your acquisition. Hope this is helpful.
I would redirect it. Don't know why many people say to keep it. You might rank well with 2 sites ok, more total traffic, but I know a business here that has 2 sites and 2 business listings for the same thing and it looks confusing and suspicious.
If you acquired their website, unless they have a ton of links to it, is not a huge gain for a brick & mortar business… the key would be getting their maps listing. some 85% of all people searching for a product or service use maps listings now days, organic results are very small percentage. So use it the best you can and change put your contact info on it let them call you instead of them. good luck!

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